A SCHOOL is building a huge new sports centre which is set to create “new and exciting opportunities for pupils and the community”.

Chigwell School is behind the major proposal, which includes demolition of the existing sports hall, gym and workshop building and construction of a new sports centre, relocation of existing floodlit tennis courts and new car parking areas.

The centre will also have a five-court sports hall, six lane swimming pool, a gym, one cardiovascular studio, a climbing wall, cafe and various dry and wet changing areas.

The school, which dates back to 1629, hopes to have the project complete in 2023.

Leaders say the plans have been designed to minimise disruption and that once the new centre is ready, the older buildings will be demolished.

Head teacher Michael Punt said it will provide great sporting benefits and opportunities to the pupils and whole community.

He said: “At Chigwell, we seek to develop the whole person and we believe that sport helps to enhance pupils’ character. Our aim is that they are able to thrive in all aspects of life at school and beyond because they are resilient, able to work with others and able to win or lose well. Like any good school, we are always seeking to improve our provision and we have recognised the need to update and modernise our indoor sports facilities. Therefore, we plan to develop a new sports centre which will provide new and exciting opportunities for Chigwell pupils and members of the wider community.

“The sports centre project will provide updated facilities which will enrich the learning experience for pupils. However, beyond the centre itself, we will also construct six floodlit netball and tennis courts, reconfigure car parking and vehicle and pedestrian routes on/off the site and carry out hard and soft landscaping.

“All of this will increase the variety of sports we can make available on site; we aim to balance an ethos of sport for all, as well as catering for elite athletes and enhance the wellbeing of the whole school community. Ultimately we want to create a love of participation in sports that lasts a lifetime.”

He said outside normal school hours, the new centre will be available for use by residents, groups and clubs